46. Draft Memorandum From Secretary of Defense McNamara to President Kennedy0


  • Recommended Long Range Nuclear Delivery Forces 1963-1967 (C)

This Appendix summarizes the main factors I have taken into consideration in determining United States’ requirements for Long Range Nuclear Delivery Forces in the years 1963-1967. The Appendix includes:

Recommended Force Levels and their Fiscal Implications;
The General Basis for My Recommendations on Force Levels;
The Basis for My Recommendations on Specific Weapon Systems.

I. Recommended Force Levels and Their Fiscal Implications

I recommend that you approve, for inclusion in the FY 1963 budget, the procurement of the following operational missiles and aircraft to supplement our Long Range Nuclear Delivery Forces:

[Page 139]
Total Purchase Cost To Be Funded FY 1963 NOA
(Millions of Dollars)
a. 100 Minutemen Hardened and Dispersed $461 $284
b. 50 Mobile Minutemen 935 270
c. 6 Polaris Submarines 1,072 963
d. 92 Skybolt Missiles 347 200
e. 100 KC-135 Tankers 287 270
Total for FY 1963 Decisions $3,102 $1,987
Total Funding Requirements from Prior Years’ Decisions 6,939
Total for FY 1963 $8,926

Moreover, I recommend that we adopt, for planning purposes, the force structure summarized in the table on the next page. In those cases in which the forces I am recommending differ from those recommended by the Navy and Air Force, the latter are shown in red beneath mine.1


[Page 140]
End-Fiscal Year
1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967
B-52 555 630 630 630 630 630 630
695 675 675 675 675
B-47 1,125 855 585 450 225
B-58 40 80 80 80 80 80 80
Total Bombers 1,720 1,565 1,295 1,160 935 710 710
1,320 1,205 980 755 755
Air-Launched Missiles
Hound Dog 216 450 522 522 522 522 336b
Skybolt 322 690 1,150
Total GAM’s 216 450 522 522 844 1,212 1,468
ICBM and Polaris Missiles
Atlas 36 75 135 135 135 126 117
Titan 6 51 78 114 114 114 114
132 132 132 132
Minuteman H&D 150 600 700 800 900c
1,200 1,700 2,300
Minuteman Mobile 50 100 100
300 300
Polaris 80 96 144 288 480 560 656
672 720
Total ICBM/Polaris 122 222 507 1,137 1,479 1,700 1,887
1,997 2,930 3,569
Quail 224 392 392 392 392 392 392
KC-135 400 440 520 620 640 640 640
760 800 800
KC-97 600 460 340 240 120
RB-47 45 45 45 45
RC-135 3 13 23 23 23
Alert Force Weaponsd
No. of Weapons 1,390 2,350 2,450 3,050 3,440 3,870 4,180
2,550 3,140 4,050 5,200 5,890
Megatons 1,530 2,750 3,300 4,350 4,740 5,130 5,450
3,400 4,460 5,600 6,850 7,620

The estimated Total Obligational Authority required to procure and operate these forces over this period is shown in the following table. The difference between the Total Obligational Authority required to finance the forces I am recommending and that required to finance the forces recommended by the individual Services is shown on the second line. Over the five years, 1963-67, the cost of the aircraft and missiles recommended by the Air Force and the Polaris recommended by the Navy exceeds the cost of the forces I am recommending by approximately $10 billion. As will be shown later in this paper, the extra capability provided by the individual Service proposals runs up against strongly diminishing returns and yields very little in terms of target destruction. In my judgment, it is an increment not worth the cost of $10 billion over the five year period.


(Billions of Dollars)

FY62 FY63 FY64 FY65 FY66 FY67 FY63-67
Secretary of Defense Recommendations 9.3 8.9 8.0 5.6 4.7 4.1 31.3
Service Proposals over Secretary/Defense +.6 +1.5 +1.6 +3.0 +2.2 +1.4 +9.7

The forces I am recommending for procurement in FY 1963 are compared with the recommendations of the Service Chiefs in the following table. The numbers represent operational aircraft or missiles.

[Page 141]


Secretary of Defense Chairman JCS Army Navy & USMC Air Force JCS 9-11-61 Recoms.e
B-52 Aircraft 0 0 b b0 a45 45
Skybolt 92 92 0 0 92 92
KC-135c 100 100 100 100 120 100
Titan 0 18 0 0 18 18
Minuteman H&D 100 d300 d100 d100 600 300
Minuteman Mobile 50 50 0 0 50 50
Polaris 96 96 96 160 0 128

The aircraft and missiles recommended for procurement in FY 1963 by the Air Force and the Polaris submarines recommended for procurement in FY 1963 by the Navy would cost approximately $3.1 billions more to buy than the aircraft and missiles I am recommending. Of this, approximately $2 billions would require funding in FY 1962 and FY 1963.

As well as these forces, I will recommend at a later date that the Air Force be authorized to procure and operate a secure command and control system for SAC. Except for 20 KC-135’s which will be available for use as airborne command posts, the cost of this system has not been included in the figures on page 3.2

[Page 142]

II. General Basis for Force Level Recommendations

The forces I am recommending have been chosen to provide the United States with the capability, in the event of a Soviet nuclear attack, first, to strike back against Soviet bomber bases, missile sites, and other installations associated with long-range nuclear forces, in order to reduce Soviet power and limit the damage that can be done to us by vulnerable Soviet follow-on forces, while, second, holding in protected reserve forces capable of destroying the Soviet urban society, if necessary, in a controlled and deliberate way. With the recommended forces, I am confident that we will be able, at all times, to deny the Soviet Union the prospect of either a military victory or of knocking out the U.S. retaliatory force. If the most likely estimates of Soviet forces prove to be correct, the forces I am recommending should provide us a capability to achieve a substantial military superiority over the Soviets even after they have attacked us.

The recommended forces are designed to avoid the extremes of a “minimum deterrence” posture on the one hand, or a “full first strike capability” on the other. A “minimum deterrence” posture is one in which, after a Soviet attack, we would have a capability to retaliate, and with a high degree of assurance be able to destroy most of Soviet urban society, but in which we would not have a capability to counter-attack against Soviet military forces. A “full first strike capability” would be achieved if our forces were so large and so effective, in relation to those of the Soviet Union, that we would be able to attack and reduce Soviet retaliatory power to the point at which it could not cause severe damage to U.S. population and industry.

We should reject the “minimum deterrence” extreme for the following reasons:

Deterrence may fail, or war may break out for accidental or unintended reasons, and if it does, a capability to counter-attack against high-priority Soviet military targets can make a major contribution to the objectives of limiting damage and terminating the war on acceptable terms;
By reducing to a minimum the possibility of a U.S. nuclear attack in response to Soviet aggression against our Allies, a “minimum deterrence” posture would weaken our ability to deter such Soviet attacks.

On the other hand, we should reject the attempt to achieve a “full first strike capability” for the following reasons:

It is almost certainly infeasible. The Soviets could defeat such an attempt at relatively low cost. For example, we do not now have any prospect of being able to destroy in a sudden attack Soviet missile submarines at sea. Nor would we be able to destroy a sufficiently high percentage of a large hard and dispersed ICBM force.
It would put the Soviets in a position which they would be likely to consider intolerable, thus risking the provocation of an arms race.
It would be very costly in resources that are needed to strengthen our theatre forces.

The forces I am recommending will provide major improvements in the quality of our strategic posture: in its survivability, its flexibility, and its ability to be used in a controlled and deliberate way under a wide range of contingencies.

Target Destruction Requirements

The following list of high priority targets (aim points) in the Soviet Union has been derived from studies performed in June 1961 by the Staff of the Net Evaluation Subcommittee, under the direction of Lieutenant General Thomas Hickey.3 (The estimates have been rounded to the nearest 50 in each category to avoid a misleading impression of accuracy.)

End Fiscal Year
1965 1967
Urban-Industrial Aim Points 200 200
Bomber Bases 150 150
Support Airfields 50 50
Defense Suppression 300 300
Nuclear Storage and Production 50 50
Naval and Submarine Bases 50 50
Soft IRBM Sites (4 missiles per site) 100-300 50-200
Soft ICBM Sites (2 missiles per site) 100-300 50-200
Hard ICBM Sites (1 missile per site) 200-500 400-1100
Total 1200-1700 1350-2200

These totals can be compared with the [less than 1 line of source text not desclassified] aim points included in SIOP-62, the current war plan. There are inevitably uncertainties, especially about details, when looking so far into the future. However, taken as a whole, I am satisfied with this target system as a basis for force planning.

The 200 Urban-Industrial targets and the 150 bomber bases have the highest priority in the sense of required degree of assurance that we can destroy them. The capability to destroy the Urban-Industrial targets is our power to deter attacks on our own cities. The Bomber Bases contain the part of the Soviet Forces that can cause us the most damage if not attacked, and also the part most vulnerable to attack. In the event of thermonuclear war, it is important that we destroy the maximum possible number of Soviet long range bombers. The 150 targets listed here represent a fairly generous allowance for this purpose. They include about 50 [Page 144] bases now known or estimated to be supporting long-range air operations, about 60 now known or estimated to be supporting light bomber operations, most of which would be usable as recovery bases for the long-range bombers, and about 30 staging bases on which the medium bombers depend for range enough to reach the United States.

However, the other targets are also potentially important and worth attacking. The Supporting Airfields (potential recovery and dispersal bases), Nuclear Storage and Production sites, and Naval and Submarine bases all can support delivery of nuclear weapons on the United States. The IRBM sites represent a threat to our Allies and our theatre forces, and are most economically attacked by a system such as Minuteman. The Defense Suppression targets, air defense control centers, interceptor bases, and surface-to-air missile sites, can be effectively attacked by the air-launched missiles Hound Dog and Skybolt. Their destruction would drastically reduce the defense opposition faced by our manned bombers. The number 300 shown here is probably a generous allowance for the purpose. For example, SAC is now estimating a requirement to destroy 160 defense suppression targets in 1968.

The size and basing (i.e. degree of hardening and dispersal) of the Soviet ICBM force in 1965 and 1967 is now a matter of considerable uncertainty. Everything we know about the Soviet long-range nuclear delivery posture to date suggests that the most likely configuration for first-generation ICBM sites will be 2 missiles per site and soft. Such sites would present attractive targets for our forces. However, hard and dispersed basing for their next generation of ICBM’s would be such a logical choice for the Soviets that the possibility must be considered reasonably likely even though there is no evidence now to suggest that the Soviets are hardening their missiles.

There are also uncertainties about the performance of our forces in striking back after a Soviet attack—uncertainties associated with the weight and effectiveness of possible Soviet attacks, the ability of our forces to survive under attack, the reliability of our missiles, and the ability of our forces to penetrate Soviet defenses. But these uncertainties are not unbounded. One can place reasonable quantitative limits on them and estimate the effectiveness of our forces under alternatively optimistic and pessimistic assumptions.

This is what has been done in the following analysis. The survival reliability, and penetration factors used are all based on the general assumption that the war begins with a well planned and well executed Soviet attack, with limited warning, against our forces in a state of normal peacetime alert, and that we are hitting back after being attacked. Thus the following estimates do not represent maximum capabilities under the most favorable circumstances. For example, they exclude cases in which we strike first, or cases in which we are attacked during a [Page 145] period of tension and alert. These cases have been excluded because we are testing the adequacy of our forces, and therefore must look at unfavorable circumstances.

Within the general assumption of a well planned Soviet attack, optimistic, median, and pessimistic survival, reliability, and penetration factors have been chosen to reflect the range of uncertainty. It is possible to imagine outcomes lying outside this range, but their likelihood appears small. The optimistic factors represent favorable, but attainable performance. The great weight of likelihood appears to be between the optimistic and median cases. The combination of all of the pessimistic factors describes a very unfavorable and relatively improbable case. For example, it is assumed that in 1967, only [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] per cent of the manned bombers reach the bomb release line and [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] per cent of the Titans and [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] per cent of the fixed Minuteman missiles are destroyed before launch. These factors were chosen to produce an answer to the question “What happens if everything goes badly?” (The details of the assumed factors, together with an explanation of their choice can be found in Annex 1 to this Appendix.)4

The pessimistic factors do not include an allowance for attrition by Soviet anti-ICBM defenses. We recognize that the Soviets do have a large R&D program in this area. However, we are pursuing a vigorous program of development of penetration aids (decoys and multiple warheads) and we expect to be able to penetrate Soviet defenses in this period. Moreover, if attrition by Soviet ICBM defenses appears at all likely, we will be able to compensate for it in large measure by concentrating our forces on the top priority targets.

The following results are shown in terms of expected percentages of the targets or value in each category destroyed. In the case of Urban-Industrial Floor Space (and Urban Blast Fatalities), the estimates are of damage to the contents of the 170 largest cities (down to a population of 90,000) which contains approximately 80 per cent of the total industrial floor space of the Soviet Union and approximately 50 million out of a total of 210 million people.

The estimates of total population fatalities are percentages of the Soviet total. The “Unsheltered” case corresponds to the effects expected in a population without extensive civil defense preparation, but taking advantage of what shelter is normally available. The “Sheltered” case corresponds to fallout shelter for 40 per cent of the urban population and 20 percent of the rural. The “At Least” reflects the fact that the estimates do not include fallout from attacks on isolated military targets. (The [Page 146] effects on surrounding cities of attacks on naval bases are included in the estimates.)

The assumed number of Soviet ICBM sites varies between the optimistic cases (in which the low end of the range is used) and the pessimistic cases (in which the high end is used). Therefore, the percentages shown should not be interpreted as representing fractions of the same numbers.

Two forces and two years are shown on pages 9 and 10.5

Those forces I am recommending for End-Fiscal Year 1965 and 1967, and
Those forces proposed by the individual Services (though not jointly by the JCS) for the same years.

The calculations suggest that either force would provide us with a powerful capability to carry out the objectives mentioned earlier. However, as I indicated earlier, the extra capability provided by individual Service proposals runs up against strongly diminishing returns and yields very little in terms of extra target destruction.

Moreover, the theatre forces were not included in these calculations, through SIOP 465:3 ’62 includes about [less than 1 line of source text not declassified]alert aircraft and missiles from these forces. On the other hand, with the exception of the defense suppression targets, no targets [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] were included. However, we do not now expect [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] to develop a significant long range nuclear delivery force in the time period under consideration. If she does, and a change seems indicated, there will be time for us to increase our forces appropriately.



[Page 147]
Percent Expected Kill
Optimistic Median Pessimistic
Population and Industry
Urban-Industrial Floor Space (or Urban Blast Fatalities) 88 88 80 80 69 69
Total Population Fatalities, Unsheltered, at least 43 43 33 33 25 25
Partly Sheltered, at least 35 35 26 26 20 20
Military Targets
Bomber Bases 99 99 88 93 58 80
Support Airfields 97 99 52 76 7 37
Defense Suppression 76 87 38 38 7 7
Nuclear Storage & Production 96 98 69 69 6 5
Naval & Submarine Basesa 98 98 62 62 7 7
Soft IRBM Sites 96 100 45 80 5 5
Soft ICBM Sites 99 100 45 88 14 59
Hard ICBM Sites 71 75 16 19 1 1
[Page 148]

Alert Force Weapons Summary

Alert Force Delivered on Target
Total Optimistic Median Pessimistic
Weapons 3440 4050 2482 2993 1107 1487 399 691
Megatons 4740 5600 3386 4112 1560 2077 574 951



Percent Expected Kill
Optimistic Median Pessimistic
Population and Industry
Urban-Industrial Floor Space (or Urban Blast Fatalities) 84 84 79 79 68 68
Total Population Fatalities, Unsheltered, at least 37 37 32 32 25 25
Partly Sheltered, at least 30 30 26 26 19 19
Military Targets
Bomber Bases 98 99 94 99 81 99
Support Airfields 99 99 72 96 7 78
Defense Suppression 88 95 50 67 9 10
Nuclear Storage & Production 95 95 46 79 0 31
Naval & Submarine Bases 97 97 54 54 12 12
Soft IRBM Sites 99 99 85 92 2 96
Soft ICBM Sites 99 99 82 97 43 97
Hard ICBM Sites 54 77 7 25 1 5

Alert Force Weapons Summary

Alert Force Delivered on Target
Total Optimistic Median Pessimistic
Weapons 4180 5890 3028 4578 1508 3826 638 1912
Megatons 5450 7620 3417 5295 1726 3320 740 2272

Relationship of Recommended Force to Soviet Force

The direct comparison of force numbers as such is less important than the ways in which we base and operate our forces. For example, we could out-number the Soviets three to one in ICBM’s and still have an inadequate deterrent posture if our missiles were soft and concentrated. However, the force increments which I am recommending are all in a protected mode, hard and dispersed, or mobile.

Given a well protected posture, relative numbers are still important for several reasons:

A large Soviet superiority in ICBM’s could overcome the protection afforded our ICBM’s by hardening and dispersal and make it possible for the Soviets to destroy most our fixed-base forces in a missile attack.
A large Soviet superiority in missiles would worsen the outcome of a thermonuclear war.
A large Soviet superiority in ICBM’s would be likely to have a very unfavorable impact on Soviet aggressiveness in the cold war.

Therefore, we have no intention of letting ourselves be seriously out-numbered in ICBM’s by the Soviet Union.

How many ICBM’s will the Soviet Union have in the mid-1960’s? The answer is intrinsically uncertain because it is still subject to Soviet decisions which may not yet have been made, and which will be influenced by our own decisions. However, we do know a good deal about their posture today. We are able to estimate that the Soviets now have from 25 to 50 operational ICBM launchers. Their ICBM build-up appears to be deliberately paced, not a crash program. On the basis of what has been observed so far, [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] the Soviets will have from 200 to 400 ICBM’s in mid-1964. But even if the most pessimistic (Air Force) estimates prove to be valid, in mid-1964 we will still equal the Soviet Union in ICBM’s at about 850 each. This will be combined with a substantial U.S. superiority in all other categories of long range nuclear delivery systems.

Moreover, if the Soviet Union exceeds our most pessimistic estimates and builds up a much larger force by 1965 or 1967, we are confident that we will find out about it in time to expand our program appropriately. As a hedge against this unlikely possibility, we are expanding our Minuteman production capacity to over 60 missiles a [Page 149] month. When this is done, the lead time for hard and dispersed Minuteman ICBM’s will be about 26 months. Therefore, we will have a great deal of flexibility to expand the program at a later date if it should prove to be necessary to do so.

In other categories of long range nuclear delivery systems, we will have a substantial superiority. Soviet long range aviation now comprises about 1,000 medium bombers (or tankers), and about 150 heavy bombers (or tankers), equipped with air-to-surface missiles. The heavy bomber category is far more significant than the medium bomber category. We will have 630 heavy bombers, plus almost as many tankers. Because the Soviets would have to use some of their bombers as tankers, this will mean an effective U.S. heavy bomber force approximately four or more times as large as that of the Soviets.

The USSR now has about 20 conventionally powered submarines which are probably capable of launching short-range ballistic missiles (approximately 150-300 nautical miles), though not while submerged. By 1963, the Soviets could probably introduce nuclear powered submarines with a submerged launch system employing medium range ballistic missiles. There is no evidence to suggest that the Soviets have a program approaching our Polaris program, either in size or quality.

III. Basis for Recommendations on Specific Weapon System Choices

Within the general quantitative requirements for additional long range nuclear delivery systems, suggested by the above considerations, the following are the reasons for my specific program recommendations:


The Air Force has proposed the procurement of 52 additional B-52’s (45 wing unit equipment plus 7 command support) with FY 1962 funds. The cost of procuring and operating these aircraft, with (30) associated tankers and Skybolt missiles, for a 5 year period would be about $1.4 billions. My reasons for recommending against this procurement are the following:

We already have a large force of intercontinental bombers. In mid-1965 it will comprise 630 B-52’s, 80 B-58’s and, if we do not decide to phase them out sooner, 225 B-47’s. The alert B-52’s and B-58’s alone will be able to carry about 1500 bombs plus 1,000 air launched missiles. The alert B-47’s will be able to carry another 200 bombs.
An examination of the target system shows that most targets, and all of those of the highest priority, are best attacked by missiles; first, because the targets are soft, fixed, and of known location, and therefore vulnerable to missile attack; and second, in the case of the military targets, the missiles reach their targets much faster than do bombers, and therefore would be more effective in catching enemy bombers and missiles on the ground; and third, our missile systems have a much greater survival potential and endurance in the wartime environment, and therefore can be used with more control and deliberation.
The bombers are soft and concentrated and they depend upon warning and quick response for their survival under attack. This is a less reliable means of protection than hardening and dispersal or mobility. Moreover, it means that the bombers must be committed to attack very early in the war and cannot be held in reserve to be used in a controlled and deliberate way.
Bombers are expensive. For the same cost (in total five year system costs) as a wing of B-52’s with tankers and Skybolts, we can buy 250 Minutemen hardened and dispersed, or 6 Polaris submarines.

GAM-87 Skybolt

Air defense studies indicate that the most effective means for penetrating air defenses are low altitude penetration and defense suppression, both of which are more effective than attempting to out-run the defenses at high altitude. The Skybolt is intended to provide a major improvement in the penetration capability of the programmed B-52 force at a relatively low cost. The 800 Skybolt missiles on alert bombers ought to be able to overcome almost any Soviet defense and make it possible for the bombers to go into their targets and attack them with gravity bombs. The total cost for 1150 Skybolts for the period FY 1962-1967 is estimated to be $1.6 billion.


Twenty-seven squadrons of KC-135’s (540 operational aircraft) have been procured through FY 1962. Air Force studies indicate that 800 KC-135’s are required, with most of the increment going to support the B-52 force. (About 70 KC-135’s are required to support TAC, 20 for command posts, and 80 to support the B-58 fleet.) However, beyond approximately 470 tankers, more KC-135 are not required to enable the B-52’s to reach their targets. Rather, the basis for the Air Force stated requirement for more tankers is to improve the ability of the bombers to penetrate enemy defenses by allowing them to choose more favorable routes or to fly more at low altitude. Improved penetration capability achieved this way and Skybolt for defense suppression are not both required. Moreover, Skybolt appears to be more effective. Therefore, in my judgment, the expenditure of approximately $1.1 billions to procure 160 extra tankers and operate them for 5 years is not required. The force of 640 tankers which I recommend will provide 470 to support the B-52’s; 80 for the B-58’s; 70 to support TAC; and 20 for command posts.

Titan II

The 18 extra Titan missiles proposed by the Air Force would cost approximately $372 millions to procure and operate for 5 years. The Titan II has a substantially larger payload than Minuteman. It will be able to deliver [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] rather than [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] warheads now programmed for Minuteman. But the total system cost of Titan II is about four times that of Minuteman hard and dispersed. At equal cost, four Minutemen are to be [Page 151] preferred to one Titan because, first, they are less vulnerable, and second, they provide more target coverage. Moreover, we already plan to have a substantial force of Atlas and Titan which should be adequate for those special purposes requiring large payloads. Therefore I do not recommend procurement of additional Titans.

Minuteman Hard and Dispersed

Minuteman H & D has the lowest system cost of any of our ICBM’s at about $5.5 millions per missile in 5 year costs. It is clearly the preferred way to acquire more ICBM’s. However, I am not recommending that we procure more than 100 in FY 1963 because our over-all force requirements do not make it necessary. The difference between the Air Force proposed procurement of 600 missiles in FY 1963 and the 100 I am recommending, in 5 year system costs, is approximately $2.75 billions.

Mobile Minuteman

Mobile Minuteman would serve as a hedge against our being heavily outnumbered by the Soviet ICBM force, a low Soviet CEP, or unexpected failure of the hardened Minuteman to meet estimated blast resistance—conditions lowering the survival potential of hard and dispersed Minutemen. It would also serve as a hedge against unexpected advances in Soviet anti-submarine warfare capability that would reduce the security of Polaris. However, Mobile Minuteman may have troubles of its own, including wartime fallout (which may reduce substantially its wartime endurance), peacetime sabotage and espionage and operational problems associated with the transport of explosives and attempted random operation. Moreover, if we were to complete the Air Force recommended program of 300 Mobile Minutemen, Mobile Minuteman would cost about 2.5 times as much per missile as Minuteman hard and dispersed.

Therefore, we are not yet certain that Mobile Minuteman will be required. The action I am recommending is in the nature of lead time reduction on the missile production program. If the combination of contingencies favoring Mobile Minuteman does not occur, I shall reconsider the decision and recommend cancellation of the production program.


This system has the most survival potential in the wartime environment of any of our long range nuclear delivery systems. Polaris missiles do not have to be launched early in the war, they can be held in reserve and used in a controlled and deliberate way to achieve our wartime objectives. For example, Polaris is ideal for counter-city retaliation. However, as the calculations shown above indicate, the force already programmed is large and can cause great damage to the population and industry of the Soviet Union. This reduces the urgency of more Polaris missiles. Consequently, I recommend that we procure 6 more Polaris submarines in FY 1963. The cost, on a 5 year basis, of the 6 submarines [Page 152] will be about $930 millions less than the cost of the 10 submarines proposed by the Navy.

Robert S. McNamara
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Departments and Agencies Series, Defense Budget FY 63, 1/61-10/61. Top Secret. This draft memorandum was received in the White House shortly after September 23. It is Appendix I to Document 50.
  2. The handwritten numbers on the table are printed in italic type.
  3. Numbers of aircraft and missiles are derived by multiplying authorized squadron unit equipment by the numbers of squadrons. They do not include R&D, Combat Training Launch or maintenance pipeline missiles or command support aircraft. Effective 1 August 1961, approximately 50% of the bombers will be on 15 minute ground alert. ICBM numbers represent operational launchers. Numbers of Polaris missiles represent the total number of missiles in operational submarines. Approximately 67% of these submarines will be on station or at sea. The table excludes 17 Regulus missiles in operational submarines from end-FY 61 to end-FY 64 and 5 at end-FY 65.
  4. This difference is a consequence of the difference in recommended B-52 forces.
  5. 1,000 by end-FY 68, 1,100 by end-FY 69, and thereafter.
  6. Bombers have flexibility in choice of weapons and yields. For purposes of this comparison, it was assumed that B-52’s carry four [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] bombs, plus air-launched missiles.
  7. During a discussion between the Secretary of Defense and the Chiefs, on September 11, 1961, they stressed their concern about the reduction in our nuclear capability as the B-47’s were phased-out. The Secretary of Defense therefore added 5 Wings of B-47’s to his recommendation for FY 1963 and FY 1964, bringing it to the level shown on page 2. [Reference is to the table above entitled “Recommended Forces.” The JCS recommendations are contained in their memorandum JCSM 620-61 to McNamara, dated September 11. (Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 65 A 3464, Atomic 471.61 (29 Aug 61)) The Chiefs expanded on their rationale for the September 11 recommendations in JCSM-657-61 to McNamara, September 21. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 218, JCS Records, JMF 7000 General (6 Mar 61) Sec 6) General LeMay critiqued McNamara’s force levels and strategic rationale in a September 18 memorandum to Zuckert. (Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD (McNamara) Files: FRC 71 A 3470, Miscellaneous Budget)]
  8. The Chief of Staff, USA, agrees “to a limited procurement of the system to minimize engineering and economic risks.” The CNO and Commandant, USMC, believe “research and development should continue”, and “budgetary planning should proceed, but the decision to allocate substantial funds for production should be delayed…”.
  9. The Chief of Staff, USA, agrees “to a limited procurement of the system to minimize engineering and economic risks.” The CNO and Commandant, USMC, believe “research and development should continue”, and “budgetary planning should proceed, but the decision to allocate substantial funds for production should be delayed…”.
  10. B-52’s recommended by the Air Force for 1962 procurement.
  11. The Secretary of Defense, along with the Chief of Staff, USA, the CNO, and Commandant, USMC, recommend a total strength of 640 aircraft; the CJCS recommends 760, the Chief of Staff, USAF, 800. In each case, command support aircraft would be in addition to the numbers shown.
  12. These recommendations are for “at most” the stated number of missiles.
  13. These recommendations are for “at most” the stated number of missiles.
  14. These recommendations are for “at most” the stated number of missiles.
  15. Reference is to the table above entitled “Total Obligational Authority.”
  16. “A Study of Requirements for U.S. Strategic Systems: Preliminary Report,” dated June 1961. (Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 65 A 3463, 381 Hickey Report 19 Apr 61)
  17. “Assumed Operational Factors for 1965 and 1967 Target Damage Calculations,” not printed.
  18. Reference is to the two tables below.
  19. Successful attack would render the bases inoperable but, of course, would leave untouched missile submarines at sea.